7 September 2009
Ghana became the first African country to qualify for the 2010 Fifa World Cup after beating Sudan 2-0 in an Africa group D qualifier on Sunday, while Brazil became the first South American qualifier after defeating Argentina.
The Black Stars, as Ghana’s football team are known, are Africa’s second most successful team of all time, having won the African Nations Cup four times: in 1963, 1965, 1978 and 1982.
This is the second time the Ghanaians have qualified for a Fifa World Cup, the first being in 2006, when they made it through to the second round.
Danny Jordaan, chief executive of South Africa’s 2010 Organising Committee, said it was fitting that the first African country to gain independence was the first country on the continent to qualify for Africa’s first Fifa World Cup.
“A long-standing symbol of hope on the continent, Ghana is sure to win many fans in South Africa,” Jordaan said in a statement on Sunday. “We hope that they will go far in the tournament and do Africa proud.”
Ghana gave invaluable support to South Africa’s bid to host the World Cup, in the form of football legend Abedi Pele. At the time of SA’s bid, Pele said that a World Cup in South Africa would bring the “greatest benefit to African football”.
Pele has since joined other African football greats, such as George Weah, Roger Milla, Kalusha Bwalya and Philemon Masinga, as 2010 bid ambassadors.
Brazil qualify for 2010
Ghana will join Brazil, currently the number one ranked team in the world, who qualified for the World Cup after defeating Argentina 3-1 in a qualifier on Saturday.
Jordaan congratulated the Brazilians on becoming the first South American country to qualify for the World Cup, saying: “You cannot host a World Cup without Brazil.
“The kings of football already wowed South Africa earlier this year when they won their third Confederations Cup title, and we look forward to seeing if they can repeat that performance and add a record sixth World Cup trophy to their name next year,” Jordaan said.
Brazil has won five World Cups to date, and is the only country in the world to have qualified for every Fifa World Cup.
“Brazil are the hosts of the 2014 Fifa World Cup, and it will be great to have them here so that we can formally hand over the baton to them come 12 July 2010,” Jordaan said.
The 32 teams who will take part in the World Cup will be known before the end of October.
Besides Brazil and Ghana, the Netherlands, North Korea, South Korea, Australia and Japan have already qualified. Italy, as the defending champions, and South Africa, as the hosts, have automatic places in the elite field.